When Google's 905 accepted students officially begin coding on May 28th, 137 mentoring open-source projects will be given a serious influx of labor. As in 2005 and 2006, Google will be paying each of these university students $4500 to act as pro-tempore developers for the scores of participating open source projects. The projects are given $500 for each student they take on and mentor. Google is spending more than four million dollars on the program this year, and significant contributions are expected for projects ranging from Ubuntu and Mozilla to scientific endeavors.
The Google Summer of Code 2007 reached the second major milestone in its program timeline on April 11th by posting accepted student applications. This follows the announcement of accepted mentoring organizations and the simultaneous commencement of the student application period, the first major milestone, on March 14th.
For more information about the Summer of Code's motivation, evolution, logistics, finances, and success, the Linux Weekly News turned to Google's Open Source Program Coordinator Leslie Hawthorn:
LWN: What prompted Google to found the annual Summer of Code in 2005? What were the initial goals of the project, from Google's perspective?
Hawthorn: We were looking for a way to provide students studying computer science and IT another set of opportunities to work in their field of academic study over the summer. We were also hoping to introduce more students to open source development, as well as to increase the number of open source developers in general. Of course, the great by-product of all of these goals is that more open source code is available to everyone.
LWN: Were there any complaints or controversies from past Summers of Code that prompted logistical changes for the 2007?
Hawthorn: We'll always be working to improve the program. Payments were an area of difficulty in 2005, and also last year, though much less so. This year we're introducing a whole new method of payments which we hope will mean that disbursements go more smoothly.
We also heard from many of our students and mentors that there simply wasn't enough time during the program for students to come up to speed and get their code written, debugged and integrated back into the code base. We've reworked the timeline substantially this year and added in two months of "community bonding" to help with the time crunch.
LWN: According to a 2006 article by the Internet News, about thirty percent of students continued to work with their mentoring organization after the completion of their Summer of Code 2005 project. Are you pleased with that retention rate? What could be done or has been done to improve it?
Hawthorn: We're pleased, but we'd be ecstatic if that percentage were even higher. We're hoping the community-bonding period will encourage more students to stick around after the program ends.
LWN: Google was only able to accept less than half of the mentoring organizations which applied this year. What criteria did you use to differentiate and select these organizations?
Hawthorn: We based our decisions on several factors, but the major area was an organization's Ideas list: Did it look like a set of reasonable goals for students? Did the projects look interesting? Did the organization's Ideas list look well-organized and clearly written?
LWN: How does Google benefit from accepting mentoring organizations such as the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, which seemingly have little or no relevance to Google's business?
Hawthorn: We take orgs from a wide variety of technology spaces. We benefit in the same way the rest of the world benefits: by having more code produced for everyone to use.
LWN: Both mentors and students are required to submit evaluations which Google uses to determine whether or not the participants successfully completed their project and deserve payment. What questions are on these evaluation forms? What factors does Google use to determine whether or not payment is deserved?
Hawthorn: The questions are newly determined each year. While Google makes the final determination on whether a student receives payment or not, in almost all cases we go with the mentor's judgment call. (We have not determined the questions yet for this year.)
LWN: Can you estimate the success rate in past Summers of code based on these evaluation forms?
Hawthorn: We had 89% of students pass their final evaluations for the 2005 program, and 82% for the 2006 program.
LWN: What is Google's overall budget for the Summer of Code? How has this budget increased since 2005?
Hawthorn: Our stipends budget has increased $1M each year; in 2005, we awarded $2M and in 2006 we awarded $3M. This year, our funding will increase to $4M. Our overall program costs behind the scenes will increase somewhat year by year, but not notably so.
LWN: Google pays $5000 per student project - $4500 to the student and $500 to the mentor. What other major expenses are involved in the Summer of Code, be they during planning, administration, or otherwise?
Hawthorn: Shipping internationally is incredibly expensive. We spend a decent amount of time planning for the program when it's not in session as well.
LWN: What do you find usually motivates students to participate in the Summer of Code? Surely it's not just the money.
Hawthorn: It's the t-shirt. Seriously, though, students are drawn to the program for a variety of reasons: passion for open source, desire for recognition and potential career advancement. That said, though, you would be shocked at the number of student and mentor applications that specifically mention the t-shirt.
LWN: Is it too early to announce the Google Summer of Code 2008?
Hawthorn: We have nothing to announce now. Stay tuned! :)Click here to read more of the interview with Leslie Hawthorn and see what's coming with this year's Summer of Code.
Database SoftwareBear in mind that this is a beta release, and as any other pre-production release, caution should be taken when installing on production level systems or systems with critical data." As I announced alpha version of SE-PostgreSQL about one month ago, I'm working for development of a security facility integrated with secure operating system. It provides database users fine grained mandatory access control including row and column level one, and integration with operating system security policy."
Web Site Developmentlighttpd, a lightweight web server, is out with one bug fix. "As a good tradition with lighttpd release we are bitten by a last minute hotfix in 1.4.14. :) The bug appeared in 1.4.14 and users of 1.4.13 or older releases are not affected." mnoGoSearch, a web site search engine, has been announced. See the change log file for details.
MiscellaneousEventum, an issue tracking system from MySQL, is out with a large number of new features and bug fixes. "Eventum is a user-friendly and flexible issue tracking system that can be used by a support department to track incoming technical support requests, or by a software development team to quickly organize tasks and bugs. Eventum is used by the MySQL AB Technical Support team, and has allowed us to dramatically improve our response times."
Audio ApplicationseSpeak text to speech converter has been released. Changes include new mbrola front end capabilities, the addition of Czech, Slovak and Scottish English language support, improved Polish and Swedish language support, and an increase in the fastest speaking rate to 370 wpm.
Desktop EnvironmentsAs usual it includes updates and fixes after the official GNOME freeze, together with a host of third-party GNOME packages, Bindings and the Mono(tm) Platform -- this is the second release of the current stable GNOME branch, ironing out yet-more bugs, hopefully adding yet-more stability, and ships with the latest and greatest stable releases."
Financial ApplicationsSQL-Ledger, a web-based accounting system, has been announced. This release fixes a number of bugs and improves latex compatibility.
Interoperabilityhas been announced. Changes include: Broken aRts sound driver now removed for good, Many fixes to the Quartz DLL sound support, File I/O performance improvements, The usual assortment of Direct3D fixes and Lots of bug fixes. Wine Weekly Newsletter is online with coverage of the Wine project. Topics include: Summer of Code Projects, Cedega 6.0 & Wine Benchmarks, OpenGL Child Windows Revisited, DIB Engine Ideas, Removing Audio Drivers, NT Named Pipes, DInput Bug and Windows/Linux Shared Objects.
Mail ClientsClaws Mail, an email client, is out. The news release shows a long list of new features, including a port to the Maemo platform: "The Maemo port touches several areas: using the correct APIs for a good integration, adding of a new layout suited for small screens, Maemo-specific default preferences changes, Maemo-specific GUI improvements, etc." (Thanks to Colin Leroy). reports on the availability of release candidate 1 of Mozilla Thunderbird 2. "Features new to Thunderbird 2 include message tags, advanced folder views, session navigation history, a visual refresh of the theme, improved new mail notification alerts and support for Vista. "The release candidate is available for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux in over 35 languages. Beta testers will be offered the RC via automatic software update.""
Medical Applicationsnotes the feature freeze announcement for ClearHealth 2.0. "Over at the ClearHealth Forum David [Uhlman] has announced that ClearHealth 2.0 is now in the freezing process. He includes a brief list of new features as well as features that are slated for late-inclusion (which I am happy to say includes one of my own patches. Watch LMN for a new MirrorMed-sponsored testing push, once an offic[i]al RC is out." covers the release of openEHR 1.0.1, an electronic health record system. "The result of 14 months' review, implementation and testing, this release is a major milestone, correcting and improving the openEHR Release 1.x platform. We believe Release 1.0.1 to be a stable base for ongoing implementation and forthcoming specifications, including the Template Model, EHR Extract, Security, Archetype Query Language, CEN EN13606 integration and services (in cooperation with the HL7/OMG HSSP project). It also provides a foundation for tools and systems for the development and governance of clinical models, including openEHR archetypes, templates and terminology subsets."
Music Applicationshexter is a software synthesizer that models the sound generation of a Yamaha DX7 synthesizer. It can easily load most DX7 patch bank files, accept patch editing commands via MIDI sys-ex messages, and recreate the sound of the DX7 with greater accuracy than any other open-source emulation (that the author is aware of...) hexter operates as a plugin for the Disposable Soft Synth Interface (DSSI)." Tapeutape is a midi-controlled virtual sampler. It is highly configurable,lets you create instruments/kits/setups and is designed for live performance. Tranches is a midi-controlled multi-(inputs|outputs) live beat repeat|redirect tool for the jack sound server on Gnu/Linux".
PDA Softwareannounced the launch of the Pimlico project. "Pimlico is a suite of lightweight Personal Information Management (PIM) applications designed primarily for handheld and mobile devices. Pimlico builds upon the GTK+ toolkit and the Embedded Evolution Data Server, which together provide a solid foundation for the applications."
Sciencehas been announced. "PyQwt-5.0.0 is a major release with support for Qt-4.x, many API changes compared to PyQwt-4.2.x, and a NSIS Windows installer."
Miscellaneoushas been announced. "This release includes a Vim syntax highlighter (inspired by Felix Obenhuber's asciidoc.vim script) plus quite a few minor additions and changes." looks at PeaZip. "PeaZip is a cross platform archiver, released under LGPL for Linux and Windows, developed using Lazarus/FreePascal. Basically it acts as frontend for console archiving utilities, like p7zip and Matt Mahoney's PAQ, supporting many archive formats and offering a wide range of features about archiving, multi-volume spanning, compression and encryption."
Languages and Tools
CAs has been remarked on the GCC mailing lists, I've not succeeded in getting GCC 4.2.0 out the door. However, with the limited criteria that we target only P1 regressions not present in 4.1.x, we seem to be getting a bit closer."
HaskellHaskell Weekly News is online. This week we see truckload of new libraries.
Perldiscusses methods for improving Perl code on O'Reilly. "Inside every tangle of obfuscated Perl code is a clean, well-architected gem struggling to emerge from its cocoon. brian d foy has spent a lot of time thinking about this for his new book, Mastering Perl, and has come up with a Top Five list of things that every Perl programmer should be thinking about when writing code."
PythonThe highlights of this release include: - The ability to write widget plugins for Qt Designer in Python. - Integration of the Python command shell and the Qt event loop. This allows developers to call Qt functions dynamically on a running application. - Integration of the Qt event loop with the standard Python DBus bindings available from www.freedesktop.org."
XMLdiscusses XML vocabularies on O'Reilly. "Marc de Graauw follows up David Orchard's recent piece about versioning XML vocabularies with a piece about the Capability Compatibility Design Pattern, including code for achieving forward and backward compatibility between XML vocabulary revisions."
Editorshas been announced, this version includes a lot of bug fixes and some new features. "PyPE (Python Programmers' Editor) was written in order to offer a lightweight but powerful editor for those who think emacs is too much and idle is too little. Syntax highlighting is included out of the box, as is multiple open documents via tabs."
IDEshas been announced. "This release is in first place a bug fix release. Unicode related stuff has been reworked. Linux related things were also tested, fixed and reworked. Some tweaks in the code and some nice little improvements as Search in Class Browser or use icons/no icons in it."
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